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Setting landing direction (was: Perris double fatality)

 

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Deisel  (D 31661)

Apr 1, 2011, 8:25 PM
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Setting landing direction (was: Perris double fatality) Can't Post

I have never understood why having the first person down set the pattern makes any sense. I can determine exactly how and where I want to land before I ever get in the air. Why is this a mid-air decision? It's counter to what's taught in the ISP (plan you skydive from start to finish) and has led to confusion and near misses everywhere I've seen it done. Why not set the landing pattern before getting on the plane?


(This post was edited by billvon on Apr 1, 2011, 10:53 PM)


urlauber

Apr 1, 2011, 8:45 PM
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Re: [Deisel] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

I have never understood that too. Today we had some situations where two skydiver wanted to set the landing pattern at the same time. One to the north and one to the south. Then you don't know what the other guys are going to do...
Why do they don't have a big T on the ground to set the pattern like other dropzones?


GobbleGobble  (D 32887)

Apr 1, 2011, 8:51 PM
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Re: [Deisel] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I have never understood why having the first person down set the pattern makes any sense. I can determine exactly how and where I want to land before I ever get in the air. Why is this a mid-air decision? It's counter to what's taught in the ISP (plan you skydive from start to finish) and has led to confusion and near misses everywhere I've seen it done. Why not set the landing pattern before getting on the plane?

I haven't jumped at Perris, but I know at Elsinore you land towards the lake as a default. Presuming there is no wind/light & variable. I'm still student status so I don't land in the main area anyhow. I check the windsock before setting up my pattern while I'm up.

For the main landing area it makes sense to hold the pattern the first guy does. You have a lot of folks landing in short succession. Everyone flying the same pattern should prevent collisions. You and everyone else in the air SHOULD be following the same flight plan at that point.

If the first guy down sets you up for a down wind final land somewhere else...

Edit: To add but make that decision with enough altitude that you don't F'up the folks behind you.


(This post was edited by GobbleGobble on Apr 1, 2011, 9:02 PM)


ljwobker  (D 28955)

Apr 1, 2011, 9:09 PM
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Re: [Deisel] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In Perris, the winds are often light and variable, and in addition they often blow perpindicular to the "long" direction of the main/grass landing area. The long direction exists to allow the grass to be used effectively and to avoid low runway crossings if you're coming from the west. In these cases there is a default direction *and* that is the direction that should be set by the first jumper down.

If the first jumper down determines that the winds are strong enough out of one direction they're supposed to set the direction accordingly.

In theory, this means that no matter what you have the entire load landing the same direction.

I have no opinion on whether this is the "best" way to set the pattern (my DZ doesn't have a "long" axis direction like Perris does) but this is a very well established procedure there, and I am quite certain that both jumpers were aware of it.

I jump at Perris often for bigway events, and I can promise you that at those events specifically, the landing direction is very strictly enforced. If you land opposite 150+ other people: you're gonna get axed and fast.

From reading here, I do not believe that there was any confusion as to what direction should have been used for the landings.


jjudd  (D 31065)

Apr 1, 2011, 9:12 PM
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Re: [urlauber] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

We allow the first jumper down to set the pattern so we do not end up landing downwind in 15knot winds beacuse the wind changed when we were on our way to altitude. yes planing your jump start to finish before flight is great but variables are ever changing and landing dowwnwind because it was into the wind before flight is stupid and ignorant and asking for an injury unless you practice this all the time. the average jumper does not. Light and variable stick to your plan if your setting the pattern. If not follow the pattern

California specifically southwestern califronia (Perris and elsinore) like most other areas in the world im sure are vulnerable to changing winds due to changes in the atmosphere and temperature. This is yet another reason to analyze this after opening and clearing airspace. Off topic but many wildland firefighers become entraped and die due to a lack of change in winds or temperature, skydivers the same.

From the time you exit to the time you deploy and land you need to account for other jumpers in your group and around you. Once your under canopy there is no reason in the world you can not look around you and below you and check the winds, watch the landing patern and follow it while watching for other canopies. And if your setting the landing patern know others above you should be following your pattern period or landing elsewhere (so lets not intentionally downwind people in the main area when setting the pattern)



Im tired of this "well he went downwind so I set the pattern right BS". I have lost friends as a result of this and its preventable.

If you cant follow a pattern land elsewhere and if there isnt elsewhere for you to land because you cant follow the pattern you shouldnt be jumpingA little opinonated, yes... but lets open our eyes our parchute does more then just open and take us to the ground, we control it not the DZO or management


Premier quade  (D 22635)
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Apr 1, 2011, 9:21 PM
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Re: [Deisel] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I have never understood why having the first person down set the pattern makes any sense. I can determine exactly how and where I want to land before I ever get in the air.

I take it you've never jumped at Perris where it's not uncommon for the wind direction to change from the time it takes to board the plane to the time you're setting up for your pattern.

In fact, it's actually not uncommon for the wind to change direction even while a single stick of jumpers is landing. While not ideal and causes some people to have to land downwind, it's far preferable to them landing in whatever direction they choose.


danielcroft  (D 31103)

Apr 1, 2011, 9:58 PM
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Re: [quade] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

A few thoughts that have occurred to me since this tragic incident:
1. In 2010, 83% of deaths were D license holders (page 41 of the April Parachutist)
2. Are separate landings areas and limits on swoop turns actually solving this problem?
3. Is this what I have to look forward to in this sport?
4. Do more rules make us less aware?

I didn't know either of these people and can only imagine how their friends and family are feeling right now. Their experience and skill dwarfs my own, like orders of magnitude greater, how the hell does someone like me avoid this, even with the current rules? Do the rules really help? Does it make sense to use a draconian landing pattern? Will that really fix anything? Will the skydiving community and the USPA really consider the ramifications and affects of any proposed changes in rules and will we analyze the existing rules and their application to see if there's any affect on fatalities? Just because we have a bunch of rules, doesn't mean we're making it better, let's be realistic here, we want the right rules, not more rules.

I'm at a loss a bit with this one, and the last two, experienced people going in at an alarming rate, what's broken here?


Premier quade  (D 22635)
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Apr 1, 2011, 10:06 PM
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Re: [danielcroft] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'm at a loss a bit with this one, and the last two, experienced people going in at an alarming rate, what's broken here?

"At an alarming rate" in this case would be "ever." As in, if this ever happens, it's at an alarming rate. It should not happen at all, but there are a number of elephants in the room that nobody really wants to talk about at this time because it's just a little too soon.


danielcroft  (D 31103)

Apr 1, 2011, 10:23 PM
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Re: [quade] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

My apologies if my comments are hard to take for friends and family, I mean no disrespect.


Premier quade  (D 22635)
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Apr 1, 2011, 10:37 PM
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Re: [danielcroft] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
My apologies if my comments are hard to take for friends and family, I mean no disrespect.

It's not you, man. It's the system.


sundevil777  (D License)

Apr 1, 2011, 11:05 PM
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Re: [quade] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I have never understood why having the first person down set the pattern makes any sense. I can determine exactly how and where I want to land before I ever get in the air.

I take it you've never jumped at Perris where it's not uncommon for the wind direction to change from the time it takes to board the plane to the time you're setting up for your pattern.

In fact, it's actually not uncommon for the wind to change direction even while a single stick of jumpers is landing. While not ideal and causes some people to have to land downwind, it's far preferable to them landing in whatever direction they choose.

The first person down policy is a very flawed concept. No concept is going to be without some problem, but first person down policy has no redeeming qualities.

It makes it harder for people to anticipate setting themselves up into a sequence for entering the pattern when they don't know in what direction they will be landing until someone finally lands.

No problem if that first person does what is 'expected'. If that first person does what is not expected, but everyone else is expected to follow their lead, the sequencing of others to enter the pattern is blown completely.

Of course everyone has the option of landing far away from others out in the boonies, but that isn't the focus here.

I would rather be able to know what is expected right away, whether that is conveyed by pre-jump instructions or tetrahedron, or arrow, whatever. If I didn't like it, I could decide to go far away to land in my own pattern very early, instead of having to wait for the first person down.


TitaniumLegs  (D 19246)

Apr 1, 2011, 11:21 PM
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Re: [quade] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
there are a number of elephants in the room that nobody really wants to talk about at this time ever .
...because it might mean they have to occasionally abort their swoop.

One of the things that is taught in canopy progression (when canopy progresion is actually taught) is that the low jumper has the right of way. There is no clause that says "unless you're swooping" or "unless you're the top dawg" or even "unless you're the DZO".

That means, before you swoop, you make damn sure you're not going to interfere with anybody below/already in the pattern or who otherwise has no reason to expect you to attempt canopy intercourse / involuntary CRW with them. It's been said, pretty much on every one of these threads after a collision that the lower jumper usually can't see what's going on above/behind, because there's this big parachute thing in the way.

Too many swoopers seem to think that once they initiate their turns to swoop, they own the pattern. And/or they think they can thread through the traffic.

Aggravating the problem is that there is no (and probably can't be a) standard for swoop patterns. Swoopers make any and all turn angles in their approach. I prefer 180 for a couple reasons, but for others it could be 90 to 720 or more. You can even swoop straight in (the proper way to learn it). The more the turn (plus canopy factors, weight, etc.) the higher the initiation. So if a guy is setting up at 500'+, in the pattern landing direction, for a 360, technically, he should be looking for and yielding to people like me coming downwind at 300' for a 180. But that means spending a lot of time scanning when the guy wants to spend that time setting up.

I'll leave target fixation, team formation swoop fixation and a couple other choice problems for another time.

Don't even get me started on DZs that allow the swoopers to dictate where the swoop zone is.


kimemerson  (D 13439)

Apr 2, 2011, 3:41 AM
Post #13 of 106 (2511 views)
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Re: [Deisel] Setting landing direction (was: Perris double fatality) [In reply to] Can't Post

I have never understood why we seem to teach to avoid downwind landings as though they are the devil incarnate. I understand why we teach landing into the wind when the wind is high enough. When the wind sock shows one primary direction throughout the day, without any variation, then it's obvious and shouldn't be too hard to sort out. But when winds are light & variable then they're LIGHT & VARIABLE! The variable means they have little chance of being the same from load to load or skydiver to skydiver on the same load. Theoretically, if we insist on landing into the wind, we could have 22 canopies landing 22 different directions and all of them are in the right. Light means barely traceable. Almost not a factor.

So why don't we teach how to land downwind in light & variable winds? Flat out teach it to students who have progressed beyond the elementary basics. We should at the very least stop demanding upwind landings as the norm and downwinders as for HP swoopers and nut cases. I've been at the loading area and heard people say they are landing into the wind no matter what when the winds couldn't have been at 5 mph (or Kts... whatever they are). That approach is potentially dangerous in my view.

One of the problems we have is that we have many people who are basically intimidated by their canopies, canopy flight and the range of performance our canopies are capable of. Most of us have limited skills compared to what our canopies can handle and to a great degree the parachute ride is dealt with as a necessary inconvenience. I'd love to see canopy training that we now reserve for licensed skydivers to be implemented much earlier. I think a form of CRW should be brought into very early training as part of a required program and not solely as an elective for whoever wants to give it a go. Self improvement for canopy flight shouldn't be left as an option to be ignored if one so chooses. Somehow I figure that thorough education goes a long way toward fending off further legislation.

We have discussed ad infinitum exit separation but the irony here is that after we separate ourselves successfully during exit we all follow a bottle-neck drive for the landing area. Canopy speeds and individual flight characteristics can - of often does - mean we have people passing others in flight; we have a complete disruption of organized exit order degrading into a chaotic landing order.

If only one person is in the air then they can do whatever they want. There are almost no rules. Upwind, downwind, crosswind, sashay over the LZ, change direction... Have a fucking party. But add one more canopy and rules become a necessity, a formula for a long and happy life. None of this is new. I've been jumping 22 years and this discussion was at full throttle when I started. Elephants gestate, the FDA approves, and unhappy Catholic marriages divorce faster and they're not killing loved ones and friends and family. But we are. I know we all want to avoid legislation and I am one who would hate to see it. But, frankly, if we don't fix this problem our own damn selves legislation is highly likely.

Apparently I could keep going but I'll wrap it up by saying that we have it in our power to solve this ourselves. Let's.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Apr 2, 2011, 4:10 AM
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Re: [jjudd] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
We allow the first jumper down to set the pattern so we do not end up landing downwind in 15knot winds beacuse the wind changed when we were on our way to altitude.
Being afraid of landing downwind is what causes problems. No need to mention "low turn" incidents.
Even AFF students can easily handle downwind landings.

Now add the problem of trying to set up for and chase the first man down....

FMD blows your whole premise out of the water when he does a downwinder himself, eh?

We've had this discussion ad infinitum. So few DZs use the FMD rule and adamantly stick to it "because that's the way we've always done it" and "we're afraid of downwinders"....sad.

You FMD guys just don't get it...even when it's put right in your face. Here it is one more time. This time posed as questions:

Have you ever been in a situation where your were watching the first man down and set up for what you thought he was going to do only to have him cross you up by landing the other way? Did you have fun doing the mad scramble to re-adjust YOUR landing pattern? Did the other canopies in the air have as much fun trying to readjust?

Compare that with landing downwind.
No-brainer in my book. YMMV.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Apr 2, 2011, 4:36 AM
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Re: [jjudd] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
yes planing your jump start to finish before flight is great
You are on-track here.

But then...

In reply to:
but variables are ever changing and landing dowwnwind because it was into the wind before flight is stupid and ignorant and asking for an injury unless you practice this all the time.
It's unfortunate that you elected to use the words "stupid" and "ignorant"....and follow it up with "unless you practice this all the time."

IMO, NOT practicing would be more in the realm of stupid.

And your incorrect use of the word "ignorant" doesn't apply.

Ignorant:
1. Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.
2. Lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular:

In reply to:
If not follow the pattern...

Much easier, less confusing and safer to follow a designated landing pattern.

In reply to:
And if your setting the landing patern know others above you should be following your pattern period or landing elsewhere (so lets not intentionally downwind people in the main area when setting the pattern)
THAT never happens, right?
(sorry about the sarcasm)

In reply to:
If you cant follow a pattern land elsewhere and if there isnt elsewhere for you to land because you cant follow the pattern you shouldnt be jumping
So..We're trying to follow the FMD and he hoses us. Now we're so deep into the pattern that changing up will endanger others. Damn! We shouldn't have jumped!!

If you think about your statement, you'll see that it is a very arrogant statement to make...even without referencing it to FMD.


DocPop  (C License)

Apr 2, 2011, 7:28 AM
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Re: Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

Some great points being made here:

1. There needs to be a plan. The landing pattern starts at 0 AGL. That is, before we get on the aircraft, we should have a plan about where our pattern is going to be, to include knowing about obstacles, potential turbulence, where our outs are etc. This just isn't possible with FMD. The plan needs to be known and agreed by everyone on the load.

2. Plans need to be flexible. If we get a long spot, or get cut-off under canopy we need to be flexible enough to abort our plan and land safely somewhere else (see "outs" above).

3. I believe that there is enough education and legislation out there. What is lacking is enforcement. Better to chew someone out about an unsafe landing where nobody was hurt, than to wait for an injury or death to say "I could see that was going to happen". It's too late. Unfortunately this is the harder route to take.

4. Downwinders are not only perfectly do-able, they can actually be fun. They are a survival technique that should be practiced when it is safe to do so (eg. on a hop n' pop when you are the only one out, or in a remote part of the LZ and previously declared to everyone else on the load). The same goes for practicing PLFs, flat turns and landing with rears. If we rehearse these skills when we don't HAVE to, they become much less daunting when we NEED them in a critical situation.

I know much of the above has already been said. Just wanted to add my 0.02


bigbearfng  (D 29442)

Apr 2, 2011, 7:37 AM
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Re: [quade] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I'm at a loss a bit with this one, and the last two, experienced people going in at an alarming rate, what's broken here?

"At an alarming rate" in this case would be "ever." As in, if this ever happens, it's at an alarming rate. It should not happen at all, but there are a number of elephants in the room that nobody really wants to talk about at this time because it's just a little too soon.

I'm still felling stunned and shocked, but I'm more than willing to listen about the elephants in the room....please continue.


diablopilot  (D License)

Apr 2, 2011, 8:26 AM
Post #18 of 106 (2423 views)
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Re: [popsjumper] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

And you guys who are anti FMD don't get it.

Picking the landing direction PRIOR to take off is just "nerfing" the sport one more time.

If jumpers are unable to read a pattern PRIOR to the first man actually touching town then they have not shown the ability to skydive safely by themselves and should not have an A license issued.

Think of the pilot of an airplane. How does he decide which way he's going to land his airplane? He reads the winds, and looks for the airplane ahead of him in the pattern.


shropshire  (C License)

Apr 2, 2011, 8:40 AM
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Setting landing direction (was: Perris double fatality) [In reply to] Can't Post

Do a/c pilots watch the previous one landing to set it's landing direction or does the pilot DO AS HE's FUCKING TOLD?

If a pilot cuts through other traffic, do we slap him on the back for being a brilliant pilot and a SKY GOD?

Does a pilot set his landing direction before he takes off?



NO - we have a means of setting the landing direction ON THE GROUND, that can be seen FROM THE AIR - Use it or lose the right to jump again.


Also,
If the Ground Control sets a Right Hand Pattern - FLY A FUCKING RIGHT HAND PATTERN


(This post was edited by shropshire on Apr 2, 2011, 8:46 AM)


TitaniumLegs  (D 19246)

Apr 2, 2011, 9:09 AM
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Re: [DocPop] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I believe that there is enough education and legislation out there. What is lacking is enforcement.
If I may adjust this slightly:
There is enough educational material and legislation. What is lacking is consistent use of the material, and enforcement when the training and rules are not followed.


robinheid  (D 5533)

Apr 2, 2011, 9:09 AM
Post #21 of 106 (2391 views)
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Re: [shropshire] Setting landing direction (was: Perris double fatality) [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Do a/c pilots watch the previous one landing to set it's landing direction or does the pilot DO AS HE's FUCKING TOLD?

If a pilot cuts through other traffic, do we slap him on the back for being a brilliant pilot and a SKY GOD?

Does a pilot set his landing direction before he takes off?



NO - we have a means of setting the landing direction ON THE GROUND, that can be seen FROM THE AIR - Use it or lose the right to jump again.


Also,
If the Ground Control sets a Right Hand Pattern - FLY A FUCKING RIGHT HAND PATTERN


Pssst... the vast majority of GA airports in the USA do not have control towers, so, uh, you know, there's like, you know, no way for the pilot to "DO WHAT HE's ****ING TOLD."

Ergo, airplane pilots must THINK FOR THEMSELVES and make the same pattern/landing decisions as parachute pilots and. given wind and other weather variability, these decisions are sometimes really easy and clear-cut, and other times, not so much... you know, like, uh... when winds are so light and/or variable that "the means of setting the landing direction ON THE GROUND, that can be seen FROM THE AIR" do not work and, once again, the pilots -- airplane or parachute -- must make decisions based on their experience and knowledge of SOPs where they are operating.

I know individual decisionmaking is a hard concept to get your head around when you live in a country where government officials oversee your trips to the loo, but so far in the USA there are still areas where you can do as you choose, not only "AS (YOU'RE) ****ING TOLD."

Cool


(This post was edited by robinheid on Apr 2, 2011, 9:14 AM)


DocPop  (C License)

Apr 2, 2011, 9:13 AM
Post #22 of 106 (2384 views)
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Re: [TitaniumLegs] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I believe that there is enough education and legislation out there. What is lacking is enforcement.
If I may adjust this slightly:
There is enough educational material and legislation. What is lacking is consistent use of the material, and enforcement when the training and rules are not followed.

Excellent point - maybe I should have said there is enough information out there. Not everyone has been educated on that information.

Thanks for improving my statement. That was in important clarification.


DocPop  (C License)

Apr 2, 2011, 9:21 AM
Post #23 of 106 (2376 views)
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Re: [diablopilot] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
And you guys who are anti FMD don't get it.

Picking the landing direction PRIOR to take off is just "nerfing" the sport one more time.

If jumpers are unable to read a pattern PRIOR to the first man actually touching town then they have not shown the ability to skydive safely by themselves and should not have an A license issued.

Think of the pilot of an airplane. How does he decide which way he's going to land his airplane? He reads the winds, and looks for the airplane ahead of him in the pattern.

I think there are limits to how far you can extrapolate what is right for powered a/c to apply to canopy flight.

For example, a/c pilots have radios to communicate in-flight and they have the ability to go around. IMO the lack of those two factors alone means that it is better for all jumpers on the load to have a known and agreed flight plan before take-off.

This CAN work. Look at canopy piloting competitions. Everyone knows what order they have to land in, and I believe there are penalties for getting it wrong. There is a system and there is a price to pay for fucking it up. How often do you see pro-swoopers landing out of order? It is pretty rare.


danornan  (D 11308)

Apr 2, 2011, 9:43 AM
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Re: [DocPop] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, watch the gliders at Z-Hills... They manage to land in the pattern, the correct way and are not prone to unexpected behavior.

If a glider can enter the pattern, so can a parachute.


DocPop  (C License)

Apr 2, 2011, 9:51 AM
Post #25 of 106 (2359 views)
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Re: [danornan] Fatality *2 - Perris, CA - 31 March 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Well, watch the gliders at Z-Hills... They manage to land in the pattern, the correct way and are not prone to unexpected behavior.

If a glider can enter the pattern, so can a parachute.

Well that might be where our answer comes from. I know nothing about gliders, but what are they doing differently?

Is it related to the fact they don't generally try to land upwards of 10 at a time in the same place?


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